Indian badminton makes unprecedented leap in 2014
New Delhi: It turned out to be a watershed year for Indian badminton as the home shuttlers clinched no less than eight individual titles and also broke new grounds in team championships, making India a dominant force at the international stage.
Saina Nehwal and K Srikanth clinching titles at China Super Series Premier and P V Sindhu bagging five bronze, including a World Championship medal, besides the historic bronze medals at Uber Cup and Asian Games, were the highlights of the year in which Indian badminton achieved unprecedented success at the global platform.
If Saina led the resurgence of Indian badminton in the last few years, the year also saw the emergence of younger stars, who made it a terrific season with the help of their stupendous performance.
While Saina scooped three titles, Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, Aravind Bhat, Sindhu and H S Prannoy — all laid their hands on the crown at least once in the year gone by. In fact, Saurabh Verma and P C Thulasi also won titles in the International challenge category.
It was yet again Saina who set things in motion with a victory at the India Grand Prix Gold, which finally broke her long title drought. The Indian ace added two more titles to her kitty, clinching the Australia Super Series at Sydney in June and China Super Series Premier at Fuzhou in November.
While Saina blew hot and cold, teen sensation Sindhu continued to make big strides in world badminton with her performance, which saw her reach the finals of India Grand Prix Gold first in Lucknow and then winning the bronze at the Asian Badminton Championship in Gimcheon.
In fact, Indian women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Poppanna also made their presence felt by clinching the bronze in the same tournament in April.
Next month, India hosted the prestigious Thomas and Uber Cup Finals for the first time and Saina and Sindhu ensured that it turned out to be a memorable one as they shepherded the women’s team to a historic bronze.
Sindhu had a golden chance of winning the Commonwealth Games women’s singles title in July but the Indian had to settle for a bronze when she lost to Michelle Li of Canada.